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How will you test against High Intensity Radiated Field (HIRF) levels?

With modern aircraft striving to increase efficiency through weight-saving and other measures, composite materials are becoming increasingly prevalent in their design and manufacture. 

Composites do not provide as high a level of radiated field (RF) protection as traditional metal fuselages and as such, more and more systems are now required to pass qualification testing against High Intensity Radiated Field (HIRF) levels. 

The two methods for testing against HIRF levels, Direct Illumination and Reverberation, both have their own set of benefits and are provided here at Element, but which one will be best for your product? 

Direct Illumination
  • Quicker for smaller Equipment Under Test (EUT), or with apertures
  • Can focus on specific area of EUT to identify high-risk components 
  • Failure threshold level easier to determine.
Reverberation
  • Quicker for larger EUTs where multiple antenna positions would otherwise be required
  • Illuminates entire EUT (true ‘worst-case’)
  • Extremely high field strengths achievable.

If your customer has not specified a preference, Element can offer valuable advice on the best route for your product. However, whichever method you choose, some of the most common causes of HIRF test failure can be easily avoided by considering a few key points early in the design stage, such as: 

  • Ensuring case shielding effectiveness is of sufficient magnitude to reduce incoming RF to a level that can be withstood by sensitive components
  • Making sure cables and connectors are well screened and filtered, with 360 degree termination
  • Avoiding slots (air vents etc.) if possible, and make them as small as possible if they cannot be avoided
  • Avoiding conductive loops.
Our Early Stage Qualification (ESQ®) team can work with you from the initial design stage to support you through the complex nature of qualification testing of aerospace components and ensure you deliver against airframe manufacturers’ imposed qualification milestones. 

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